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Watch: International Space Station astronauts mark New Year's with 'ball drop'

By
Glenn Singer
The Expedition 64 crew on the International Space Station offer those on Earth a Happy New Year. Photo courtesy of NASA
The Expedition 64 crew on the International Space Station offer those on Earth a Happy New Year. Photo courtesy of NASA

Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Five of the seven astronauts aboard the International Space Station celebrated the New Year with a traditional "ball drop," but because of weightlessness, it headed upward rather than down.

The astronauts quickly followed the zero-gravity twist, rising toward the top of their cabin as they wished those on Earth good wishes for a happy 2021 as they traveled 15,500 mph some 250 miles above the Earth.

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The five, from Expedition 64 -- NASA astronauts Kate Rubins, Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi -- took turns with their greeting to those below.

Glover noted that one of the most famous New Year's Eve traditions is watching the ball drop from Times Square in New York City, which was empty this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hopkins added," As many of us celebrate the New Year from home this year, we've brought this famous tradition to space to share with you."

Noguchi noted that the celebration, because of the zero-gravity environment, would have a "special twist," and Walker told viewers, "We hope thisinspires you to celebrate in your own way."

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The crew then counted down, and Rubins released an inflatable globe, which floated upward above their heads as they cheered Happy New Year!" and floated upward, as well.

20 years aboard the International Space Station

The International Space Station is photographed by Expedition 56 crew members from a Soyuz spacecraft after undocking on October 4, 2018. NASA astronauts Andrew Feustel and Ricky Arnold and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev executed a fly-around of the orbiting laboratory to take pictures of the space station before returning home after spending 197 days in space. Photo courtesy of NASA/Roscosmos

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